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He watched her from above. Under any normal circumstances, he’d be admiring the very subtle way her waist curved, the general slightness of her entire figure, her golden hair, her pretty green eyes, and all the other little things he loved about her. All he could do in that moment was fume. His girl, Alexis Lawrence, was practically being suffocated by the surging crowd of concertgoers.

The poor girl was clearly in pain and panicking. He didn’t know why nobody was doing anything. Nobody, not the band on the stage, not even her friends next to her, seemed to notice that she was practically experiencing a panic attack. They didn’t see the delicate tears in her eyes. Plenty of people heard her yelling at them to get off, plenty of them heard her swears and foul language, and quite a few felt her elbow jab them in the gut, but not even a single one of them did anything!

He understood that this was normal at a concert. He’d seen her in similar situations more than a few times. A sixteen-year-old girl at a screamo concert, getting crushed half to death, was completely normal. His girl put up a tough front, with her anger and fighting. But he hated the panic in her eyes. He was her guardian angel; of course he hated seeing her like that.

Temptation burned in his veins. Not for the first time did he want to descend, to become human, if only for just a little while. He’d keep the crowd off of her. He’d keep her safe. That was his job, wasn’t it? Keep his girl safe; watch over her until she was in a more stable place in life, until she could feel somewhat confident and secure without the ethereal mood boosts.

Yes, he would do it. He’d join her in the crowd.

Down below, Alexis shook with panic and anger. Those stupid boys! Why were they even there? They looked so stupid, in all their Sasquatch-like… boyishness, surrounded by girls. She didn’t especially care for all the girls—come to the concert for the music, not the musicians, was her motto—but those stupid boys were just shoving people around and p**sing her off!

One of the boys, one who wasn’t quite as tall as the others, with black hair and a stud in each side of his lower lip, came up behind her a few seconds after she was shoved almost completely onto the stage. He leaned over her, placed a hand against the podium next to hers. She swung her arm back, not caring who he was.

“I’m keeping them off you!” he shouted over the music and audience.

Confused, she turned back to the lead singer, who stood about five inches in front of her face. She no longer felt the pressure of so many bodies against her, slamming her knees into the edge of the stage. The boy leaned over her, propping himself up with a hand on the singer’s podium, a determined look in his eyes.

And he had the nicest eyes. Blue eyes, paired with black hair, snakebites, and a nose ring. Usually, she didn’t like nose rings on guys, but this guy pulled it off. Then again, the fact that he was keeping the crowd off of her made him automatically gorgeous.

Who said chivalry was dead?

“Ha!” her friend called when she noticed the precarious position Alexis and the boy were in. “Rape!”

“I’m not even touching her,” he replied calmly, though the assumption made anger nearly singe his body.

She could feel the blood rush to her cheeks, so she looked back at the band. They really were great. The boy was singing along, screaming and growling right along with the lead singer. That, in her opinion, was really impressive; she’d always had a thing for frontmen.

He just stayed there as the band finished playing. Alexis had calmed down and he thought she seemed almost confused. She kept glancing back at him, green eyes curious.

When the band finished and the audience relaxed somewhat, she stood up from where she’d been forced to sit on the stage. “Thanks,” was the first thing she said.

“No problem.”

“I’ve, um, never been very good with getting squished,” she admitted shyly. Would he think she was inexperienced? Probably. That was embarrassing enough. Why did she have to go and try to make conversation? She was never good at small talk, or talk in general.

The boy nodded. “I wouldn’t think somebody who didn’t like this would be standing up front.”

“My friend dragged me up here. I’m a little scrawny for mosh pits,” Alexis said, scrunching her nose and holding up her thin wrist for emphasis.

He just felt awkward. He’d broken rules to help her, plenty of rules. Descending, interfering in a noticeable way, descending into a crowd of people, speaking to the girl he guarded… Not that falling in love with her wasn’t breaking the number one rule in the first place. The way he saw it, he was probably d**ned the moment he decided that it was okay to love her.

They made subtle small talk, mostly on Alexis’s part. She wanted to know more about him. Concerts were one place where the only real rule was ‘every man for himself.’ Why was this guy helping her out?

“What’s your name?” she asked.

“Dylan,” he lied. He didn’t have a name. He was a guardian angel, not an Arch or one of the higher-ups. It was unfair, in his opinion. What made them any better? Yeah, they dealt with the bigger things, like dealings with Hell, but, without angels like him, they’d be far busier and the world would be horribly chaotic. Didn’t that earn them names? No, apparently not. If the Archangels didn’t deal with their naming, they didn’t get names. It was just that simple.

She smiled, completely unaware of his inner turmoil. “You from around here?”

“I’m from Missouri,” he said. Another lie. 'Hi, I’m nameless and I’m not actually from anywhere. Oh, I also happen to be your guardian angel, who will probably be going straight to Hell when I return to my metaphysical form because I’m so d***ably in love with you that I just couldn’t watch you get crushed.' Yes, that would be the perfect introduction. He’d definitely prevent her from panicking if she thought he was insane.

“Oh, wow, and I thought I came a long way! I’m from the LA area. Are you visiting friends or following a band?”

“Visiting friends. It’s my last day here.” 'Lies. Lies, lies, lies!'

Alexis couldn’t help but be a little disappointed that he didn’t live closer. The guy was gorgeous, seemed pretty sweet, and could’ve possibly liked her. And it was just so rare to find a nice guy who actually spoke to her. She was too shy to approach any of the attractive guys she knew, much less start up a conversation.

They talked until the next band got started. The audience grew more violent, causing them to be nearly crushed together. He kept them off of her as best he could, but it was difficult. The snakebites he’d decided would help him appear to be just another concertgoer kept catching on her hair. Unable to help himself, he gently brushed some of her hair aside, loving that he actually could touch her.

“Your hair keeps catching on my lip rings,” he joked, keeping his lips close to her ear.

“Sorry!” Alexis squeaked. He laughed a bit and she asked, “So, do you like this band?”

He shook his head. They really weren’t much different from the earlier performers, but there was something about their sound he just didn’t like. “Not really.”

“Yeah, same with me.”

Conversation wasn’t easy while there was music playing, so neither of them attempted to continue. He could feel her starting to lose her footing, so he placed a hand on her waist. It wasn’t exactly an intimate gesture, but they both liked it. He’d always wanted to hold her, always wanted to know what it would feel like to wrap his arms around her tiny waist. She’d always envied those girls who had their boyfriends to protect them at concerts. She finally had that pleasure, though he wasn’t anything more than a kind, attractive stranger.

The band finished playing and they chatted some more. Alexis was really wishing she could see him again. Something about him was just… different. She really enjoyed talking to him. Her friend was usually the one who got all the attention, be it other girls while they talked in line or the occasional guy. The fact that an attractive guy was talking to her made her feel so much more confident. Even if he disappeared forever, she’d still be able to remember that he’d talked to her, barely acknowledging her friend.

Soon, the headlining band started their set and the crowd went wild. There was no use trying to push the other audience members back. He noticed that her hand was stuck between her stomach and the person in front of her and took advantage of the fact, weaving his fingers through hers. She smiled, though he couldn’t see, and relished the feel of his fingers on her skin as his other hand moved to lightly brush the exposed skin between the edge of her tank top and jeans.

He didn’t actually know what he was doing. All he knew was that, if he was going to lose his wings, he would enjoy his last moments with the girl he’d grown to love. So, he held her as they both sang along to the music, which he’d grown to like after so many hours of her listening to it. The body he’d fashioned himself could imitate the screams and growls almost perfectly. He knew Alexis liked that. It almost seemed like an invasion of privacy, but he’d seen what she wrote in her diary, heard what she told her friends, and saw the way she reacted to different guys. He knew her in ways no human ever could. Her soul was practically attached to his, after all.

She gasped slightly as his rough, slightly stubbly cheek brushed against her smooth one. She’d always read books where the guy had stubble and the girl liked it, but she’d never thought it could really be so nice, what, with all those prickly hairs. His lips were so soft as he kissed her cheek, though. She turned her head curiously.

The idea of kissing a total stranger had never really interested her. If anything, she’d thought it’d be weird. But this particular stranger… He just didn’t feel like a stranger.

The kiss wasn’t the best kiss—it was his first—but they both relished the feeling. She felt dazed; he felt complete. Neither could deny that feeling wanted was amazing. He thought the earth had dropped out from beneath them, leaving the two of them alone in space. She reveled in the thrill of kissing a guy she’d only just met at a concert.

'Better than I ever imagined,' he thought contentedly. He held her for the rest of the show, dreading the moment he’d have to leave her. It nearly broke his immortal, angelic heart, but he knew he couldn’t stay. She had a soul mate, a human one, and a whole life to look forward to. Even if he remained in his human form forever, he wouldn’t really age. He’d have to keep changing his form. To change his form, he’d have to become metaphysical for at least a couple minutes. It would only take seconds for them—the Archs—to find him.

The band finished playing and he sighed. Alexis seemed to be dazedly happy. “I guess I’ll… see you, um, later,” he murmured. Instinctively, he held out his arms. She hugged him, snuggling slightly into his embrace. She was so rarely hugged and she was so hesitant to let him go. Just a moment of being wanted was Heaven for her.

“Bye,” she whispered reluctantly.

He walked away, not wanting to prolong the sharp pain in his shattering heart. There. She’d remember him. She’d probably think he was some a**hole who tried to hook up with girls at concerts, but that was okay. He’d kept her from escalating into a full-blown panic attack and had selfishly stolen a little over an hour of her company. He’d gotten to feel her skin against his, her lips on his, and the warmth of her small body through his clothes. That was enough. But, then again, it wasn’t.

Not wanting to draw attention to himself, he exited through a back door and headed around the venue, to a dark alley. The air had an odd chill to it. He had the sinking suspicion that the chill was directed at him.

“I love you, Alexis,” he whispered just before returning to his true form. A single tear slipped down his cheek at the last second. He could face whatever tortures, whatever Hell he was going to experience as long as he could remember his last moments with her, their stolen kiss.

'Please, don’t forget me.'





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